Nitrogen transformations from nitrogen fertilizers in soils of central and eastern Europe in changing climatic conditions
More details
Hide details
Department of Environmental Chemistry and Risk Assesment, Institute of Environmental Protection - National Research Institute, Poland
Chair of Agricultural Chemistry, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Poland
Marta Kijeńska   

Zakład Chemii Środowska i Oceny Ryzyka, Institute of Environmental Protection - National Research Institute, Krucza 5/11 d, 00-548, Warsaw, Polska
Submission date: 2020-06-16
Final revision date: 2020-11-29
Acceptance date: 2021-01-14
Online publication date: 2021-04-06
Publication date: 2021-04-06
Agriculture contributes to global warming mainly through the emission of methane and nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is particularly important, as it accounts for a significant share of total nitrogen emissions from arable land It is produced as a result of anaerobic microbiological changes of nitrogen introduced into the soil along with mineral fertilizers. Changes in weather patterns in response to climate change may significantly affect the efficiency of fertilizer nitrogen in agriculture, and, consequently, entail undesirable environmental effects. This issue is of particular importance in view of the dominant role that this fertilizer element plays in agriculture, and, on the other hand, due to the global environmental risk within the “nitrogen cycle”. The analysis, carried out in this paper indicates, that transformations of nitrogen compounds in the soil, caused predominantly by the climate condition, result in nitrogen release from the agricultural production area. The dispersion in the form of molecular nitrogen (N2) is mainly the result of denitrification processes. By this way over 50% of nitrogen lost from agriculture is dissipated from the agricultural land. From the agricultural point of view, denitrification is a process that limits the resources of available nitrogen, but from the environmental viewpoint, this process should be considered as a natural mechanism of environmental self-purification and water protection. Although it constitutes only about 25% of the total loss of this element the dilution of nitrogen from agricultural areas by leaching, is considered to be the most cumbersome for the water environment.
Amha, Y., Bohne, H., 2011. Denitrification from the horticultural peats: effects of pH, nitrogen, carbon and moisture contents. Biology and Fertility of Soils 47, 293–302.
Arbacaukas, J., Maseviciene, A., Žickiene, L., Staugaitis, G., 2018. Mineral nitrogen in soils of Lithuania’s agricultural land: comparison of oven-dried and field-moist samples. Zemdirbyste-Agriculture 105 (2), 99‒104.
Bateman, E.J., Baggs, E.M., 2005. Contibution of nitrification and denitrification to N2O emission from soils at different water – filled pore space. Biology and Fertility of Soils 41, 379–388.
Bednarek, A., Szklarek, S., Zalewski, M., 2014. Nitrogen pollution removal from areas of intensive farming—comparison of various denitrification biotechnologies. Ecohydrology and Hydrobiology 14(2).
Bouwman, A.F., Beusen, A.H.W., Griffioen, J., Van Groenigen, J.W., Hefting, M.M., Oenema, O., Van Puijenbroek, P.J.T.M., Seitzinger, S., Slomp, C.P., Stehfest, E., 2013.
Global trends and uncertainties in terrestrial denitrification and N2O emissions. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 368, 20130112.
Cannavo, P., Richaume, A., Lafolie, F., 2004. Fate of nitrogen and carbon in the vadose zone: in situ and laboratory measurements of seasonal variations in aerobic respiratory and denitryfying activities. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 36, 463–478.
Cors, M., Tychon, B., 2001. Controls on denitrification in riparian buffer strip in small headwater catchment in South Belgium. 11 th Nitrogen Workshop 9-12 September Reims France 61-62.
De Brogniez, D., Ballabio, C., Stevens, A., Jones, R.J.A., Montanarella, L., van Wesemae, B., 2015. A map of topsoil organic carbon content of Europe generated by a generalized additive model. European Journal of Soil Science 66, 121–134.
Dhondt, K., Boeck, P., Van Cleemput, O., Hofman, G., De Troch, F., 2001. Nitrate removal and denitrification related 15N isotopic fractionation in riparian buffer strip. 11 th Nitrogen Workshop 9-12 September Reims France 67-70.
Dirnbőck, T., Foldal, C., Djukic, I., Kobler, J., Haas, E., Kiese, R., Kitzler, B., 2017. Historic nitrogen deposition determines future climate change effects on nitrogen retention in temperate forests. Climatic Change 144, 221–235.
Długosz, J., Piotrowska-Długosz, A., 2016. Spatial variability of soil nitrogen forms and the activity of N-cycle enzymes. Plant Soil and Environment 62, 502–507.
Dobbie, K.E., Smith, K.A., 2003. Nitrous oxide emission factors for agricultural soils in Great Britain: The impact of soil water-filled pore space and other controlling variables. Global Change Biology 9, 204–218.
Erbas, B.C, Solakoglu, E.G., 2017. In the Presence of Climate Change, the Use of Fertilizers and the Effect of Income on Agricultural Emissions, Sustainability 9, 1989.
Firestone, M.K., Davidson, E.A., 1989. Microbiological basis of NO and N2O production and consumption in soils. In M.O. Andreae and D.S. Schimel (Eds) Exchange of Trace Gases Between Terrsestial Fcosystems and the Atmosphere, 7-12. New York, John Wiley and Sons.
Flessa, H., Dorsch, P., Beese, F., 1995. Seasonal variation of N2O and CH4 fluxes in differently managed arable soils in southern Germany. Journal of Geophysical Research 100, D11: 23, 15-23, 124.
Fotyma, E., Fotyma, M., 2000. Zawartość azotu mineralnego w glebie jako wskaźnik potrzeb nawozowych roślin i stanu środowiska glebowego. Nawozy i Nawożenie 4(5), 91–101.
Gilli, G., Corrao, G., Favilli, S., 1984. Concentration of nitrates in drinking water and incidence of gastric carcinomas: first destriptive study of the Piemonte region (Environmental nitrosoamine pollution). Science of the Total Environment 34, 35–48.
Gnida, A., Wiszniowski, J., Felis, E., Sikora, J., Surmacz-Górska, J., Miksch, K., 2016. The effect of temperature on the efficiency of industrial wastewater nitrification and its (geno)toxicity. Archives of Environmental Protection 42(1), 27–34.
Goliński, J., Stępniewska, Z., Stępniewski, W., Ostrowski, J., Szmagara, A., 2000. A contribution to the assessment of potential denitrification in arable mineral soil of Poland. Journal Water and Land Development 4, 175-183.
Greenan, C.M, Moorman, T.B., Kaspar, T.C., Parkin, T.B., Jaynes, D.B., 2006. Comparing carbon substrates for denitrification of subsurface drainage water. Journal of Envinronmental Quality 35(3), 824–829.
Haohao, W., Xingkai, X., Cuntao, D., TuanSheng, L., Weiguo, C., 2017. Effect of carbon and nitrogen addition on nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide fluxes from thawing forest soils, International Agrophysics, 31, 339–349.
Iglesias, A., Garrote L., 2015. Adaptation strategies for agricultural water management under climate change in Europe. Agricultural Water Management 155, 113–124.
Inglett, P. W, K. R. Reddy, and R. Corstanje 2005. Anaerobic Soils. In Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment. D. Hillel (ed). Academic Press, 71–78.
Intergovernmental Panel Climate Change (IPCC), 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis: Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K. and New York, NY.
Jahangir, M.M.R., Khalil, M.I., Johnston, P., Cardenas, L.M., Hatch, D.J., Butler, M., Barrett, M., O’flaherty, V., Richards, K.G., 2012. Denitrification potential in subsoils: A mechanism to reduce nitrate leaching to groundwater. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 147, 13– 23.
Jäger, N., Stange, C.F., Ludwig, B., Flessa, H., 2011. Emission rates of N2O and CO2 from soils with different organic matter content from tree long-term fertilization experiments – a laboratory study. Biology and Fertility of Soils 47, 483–494.
Jensen, O.M., 1982. Nitrate in drinking water and cancer in northern Jutland with special reference to stomach cancer (Nitrosoamines) Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety V-6, 258–267
Kaiser, E.A., Ruser, R., 2000. Nitrous oxide emission from arable soils in Germany – An evaluation of six long-term experiments. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soils Science 163, 249–260.<249::AID-JPLN249>3.0.CO;2-Z.
KOBiZE, 2014. National inventory report. Inventory of greenhouse gases in Poland for 1988-2012. Report prepared for the purposes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from Kyoto. The National Center for Balancing and Emission Management (KOBiZE). Warszawa, 373.
Kolasa-Więcek, A., 2013. Modeling Nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural sources with the use of linear regression. Journal of Research Applications in Agricultural Engineering 58(1).
Królak, E., Raczuk, J., 2018. Nitrate concentration-related safety of drinking water from various sources intended for consumption by neonates and infants. Archives of Environmental Protection 44 (1), 3–9. https://doi/org/10.24425/11817....
Laegreid, M., Bockman, O.C., Kaarstad, O., 1999. Agriculture, Fertilizers and Environment. CABI Publishing in association with Norsk Hydro ASA.
Luce, M.S., Whalen, J.K., Ziadi, N., Zebarth, B.J,. 2011. Nitrogen dynamics and indices to predict soil nitrogen supply in humid temperate soils. Advances in Agronomy 112, 55–102.
Mariano, E., Jones, D.L., Hill, P.W., Trivelin, P.C.O., 2016. Mineral nitrogen forms alter 14C-glucose mineralisation and nitrogen transformations in litter and soil from two sugarcane fields. Applied Soil Ecology 107, 154–161.
Meng, L., Ding, W., Cai, Z., 2005. Long-term application of organic manure and nitrogen fertilizer on N2O emissions, soil quality and crop production in a sandy loam soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 37(11), 2037–2045.
Misselbrook, T., Bittman, S., Cordovil, C.M.d.S., Rees, B., Sylvester-Bradley, R., Olesen, J., Vallejo, A., 2019. Field application of organic and inorganic fertilizers and manure. Draft section for a Guidance Document, Task Force on Reactive Nitrogen under the UNECE Air Convention, with support from the European Commission, Brussels 30.09-1.10.2019, p. 16.
Mitchell, J. K., Walher, S. E., Hirschi, M. C., Cooke, R.A.C., Banasik, K., 1998. Nitrate losses under various nitrogen management system. Zeszyty Problemowe Postępów Nauk Rolniczych 458, 431–442.
Mogge, B., Kaiser, E. A., Munch, J. C., 1999. Nitrous oxide and denitrification N-losses from agricultural soils in the Bornhoved Lake region: influence of organic fertilizers and land-use. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 31, 1245–1252.
Myrbeck, A., Stenberg, M., 2014. Changes in Nleaching and crop production as a result of measures to reduce N losses to water in a 6-yr crop. Soil Use and Management 30, 219–230.
Nivelle, E., Verzeaux, J., Habbib, H., Kuzyakov, Y., Decocq, G., Roger, D., Lacoux, J., Duclercq, J., Spicher, F., Nava-Saucedo, J.E., Catterou, M., Dubois, F., Tetu, T., 2016. Functional response of soil microbial communities to tillage, cover crops and nitrogen fertilization. Applied Soil Ecology 108, 147–155.
Norton, J. Ouyang, Y., 2019. Controls and Adaptive Management of Nitrification in Agricultural Soils. Frontiers in Microbiology.
Oertel, C., Matschullat, J., Zurba, K., Zimmermann, F., Erasmi, S., 2016. Greenhouse gas emissions from soils – A review. Chemie der Erde – Geochemistry. 76 (3), 327–352.
Olesen, J.E., Trnka, M., Kersebaum, K.C., Skjelvåg, A.O., Seguin, B., Peltonen-Sainio, P. , Rossi, F., Kozyra, J., Micale, F., 2011. Impacts and adaptation of European crop production systems to climate change, European Journal of Agronomy 34, 96–112.
Oni, S.K., Mieres, F., Futter, M.N., Laudon, H., 2017. Soil temperature responses to climate change along a gradient of upland-riparian transect in boreal forest. Climatic Change 143, 27–41.
Rees R.M. et al., 2013. Nitrous oxide emissions from European agriculture – an analysis of variability and drivers of emissions from field experiments. Biogeosciences 10, 2671-2682.
Rivett M.O., Smith J.W.N., Buss S.R., Morgan, P., 2007. Nitrate occurrence and attenuation in the major aquifers of England and Wales. Quarterly Journal of Engineering and Hydrogeology, 40 (4), 335-352.
Rosas, F., Babcock, B.A., Hayes, D.J., 2015. Nitrous oxide emission reductions from cutting excessive nitrogen fertilizer application, Climatic Change 132, 353–367.
Rutting, H., Aronsson, H., Delin, S., 2018. Efficient use of nitrogen in agriculture, Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 110,1–5.
Salehi, A., Fallah, S., Sourki, A.A., 2017. Organic and inorganic fertilizer effect on soil CO2 flux, microbial biomass and growth of Nigella sativa L., International Agrophysics, 31, 103-116.
Sapek, A., Sapek, B., Pietrzak, S., 2002. Obieg i bilans azotu w rolnictwie polskim. Nawozy i Nawożenie 1, 100–121.
Signor, D., Cerri, C.E.P., 2013. Nitrous oxide emissions in agricultural soils: a review, Pesq. Agropec. Trop., Goiânia, 43, (3), 322–338, jul./set. 2013.
Simpson, D., Arneth, A., Mills, G., Solberg, S., Uddling, J., 2014. Ozone — the persistent menace: interactions with the N cycle and climate change, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 9–10, 9–19.
Smith, K.A., Thomson, P.E., Clayton, H, Mc Taggart, I.P., Conen, F., 1998. Effects of Temperature, water content and nitrogen fertilization on emisssion of nitrous oxide by soil. Atmospheric Environment 32, 3301–3309.
Sosulski, T., Łabętowicz, J., 2007. Oszacowanie rozpraszania azotu z rolnictwa polskiego do atmosfery oraz wód powierzchniowych i gruntowych. Postępy Nauk Rolniczych 5, 3–19. Sosulski, T., Mercik, S., 2011. The dynamics of mineral nitrogen movement in the soil profile in long-term experiments. Ecological Chemistry and Engineering. A, 18 (4), 611–617.
Sosulski, T., Stępień, W., Mercik, S., Szara, E., 2011. Crop fields and nitrogen balance in long-term fertilization experiments. Nawozy i Nawożenie 42, 41-50.
Sosulski, T., Szara, E., Stępień, W., 2013. Dissolved organic carbon in Luvisol under different ferilization and crop rotation. Soil Science Annual, 64 (3), 114-119.
Sosulski, T., Szara, E., Stępień, W., Szymańska, M., Borowska-Komenda, M., 2016. Carbon and nitrogen leaching in long-term experiment and DOC/N-N03 ratio in drainage water as an indicator of denitrification potential in different fertilization and crop rotation systems. Frasenius Environmental Bulletin 25 (8), 2813-2824.
Sosulski, T., Szara, E., Szymańska, M., Stępień, W., 2017. N2O emission and N and C leaching from the soil in relation to long-term and current mineral and organic fertilization. Plant Soil and Environment 63 (3), 97–104.
Stanford, G., Frere, M. H., Schwaninger D. H., 1973. Temperature coefficient of soil nitrogen mineralization. Soil Science 115, 321-323.
Stanford, G., Steine, E. P., 1974. Nitrogen mineralization water relations in soils. Soil Science Society of America, Proceedings, 38.
Stein, L.Y., Klotz, M.G., 2016. The nitrogen Cycle. Current Biology. 26(3), R94-R98
Stevenson, F. J., 1982. Organic forms of soil nitrogen. In Nitrogen in agricultural soils. Agronomy Monographs 22. Madison.
Sztuder, H., 2007. Production and ecological evaluation at different methods of fertilizers application in winter wheat cultivation. Agricultural Engineering, 3(91): 167-172.
Szucs, M., 1991. Nitrate movement in the soil. Roczniki Gleboznawcze – Soil Science Annual T XLII 3/4, 121-128.
Villar, N., Aranguren, M., Castellon, A., Besga, G., Aizpurua, A., 2019. Soil nitrogen dynamics during an oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) growing cycle in a humid Mediterranean climate, Scientific Reports 9, 13864.
Vitale, L., Polimeno, F., Ottaiano, L., Maglione, G., Tedeschi, A., Mori, M., De Marco, A., Di Tommasi, P., Magliulo, V., 2017. Fertilizer type influences tomato yield and soil N2O emission. Plant Soil and Environment, 63, 105-110.
Wang, S., Wen, X., Luo, Y., Tang, G., Zhao, Z., Huang, J., 2010. Does the Global Warming Pause in the Last Decade: 1999-2008? Advances in Climate Change Research. 1, 49-54.
Wang, Z., Qi, Z., Xue, L., Bukovsky, M., Helmers, M.J., 2015. Modeling the impacts of climate change on nitrogen losses and crop yield in a subsurface drained fields. Climatic Change 129, 323-335.
Westra, S., Alexander, L. V., Zwiers, F. W., 2013. Global increasing trends in annual maximum daily precipitation . Journal of Climate. 26, 3904-3918.
Wiśniewski, P., 2019. Assessment of nitrous oxide emissions from agricultural soils at a local level in Poland. International Agrophysics, 33, 303-311
Wu, H., Li, Q., Lu, C., Zhang, L., Zhu, J., Dijkstra, F. A., Yu, Q., 2016. Elevated ozone effects on soil nitrogen cycling differ among wheat cultivars. Applied Soil Ecology 108, 187-194.
Zhang, S., Zheng, Q., Noll, L., Hu, Y., Wanek, W., 2019. Environmental effects on soil microbial nitrogen use efficiency are controlled by allocation of organic nitrogen to microbial growth and regulate gross N mineralization, Soli Biology and Biochemistry 135, 304-315.
Zheng, H.J., Zuo, J.C., Wang, L.Y., Li, Y.J., Liao, K.T., 2016. 15N isotope tracing of nitrogen runoff on red soil sloping uplands under simulated rainfall conditions. Plant Soil and Environment, 62,416–421.